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Chapter 3 : Brat Child
Vijaya was a special child of her parents. Her parents Manohar and Sushila Shinde had a son as their first child, following whom, three other children were born in the next 6 years or so, but all of whom unfortunately died within one year of their birth each time.
They were absolutely shattered by such continuous tragedy in their life and became devotees of various gods and goddesses to bring peace of mind for them. They started visiting many temples and offered special prayers to propitiate the various gods, on the thought that there might have been some bad karma from their past births, due to which they were suffering such tragedies one after the other.
They wanted at least one girl child after their son and as an answer to their prayers perhaps, Vijaya was born 18 years ago and luckily she survived, unlike her other unfortunate elder siblings. Her parents were very protective of her at all the times and took extreme care to see that she did not succumb to any illness or disease.
They spent more than they could afford on her medical problems without wasting any time, so as to see that she could live in proper health. But they need not have worried, since she was a normal and healthy child. Hence there was no problem and there was no danger of her dying young also.
They also showered all their affection on her - satisfying every whim of hers, with the result that, she became a brat of the first order, throwing tantrums at the slightest pretext or opportunity. This created much heartburn for her brother, since he felt neglected and felt that he was shown partiality. In frustration, he developed a hostile attitude towards his parents and intense jealousy towards Vijaya.
But since she was very bright, a quick learner and a very quick worker in all her activities, whether in school, sports or music or any other extracurricular activity, she could get away with her pompous attitudes.
People tolerated her most of the times, since she was able to meet the requirements of the situations at hand, whether it was a drama competition, music competition or sports competition or speaking/debating competition for her school. But with all her pranks, she made a good number of enemies side by side with her many admirers for her achievements.
But one thing tormented her endlessly. She was an average looker. She always dreamed of herself as another film star, since she was so fond of hindi films. She felt that with her many talents, she would easily succeed as a star in spite of her ordinary looks -like Kajol - since like her, Kajol was also not a good looker, but due to her excellent acting ability she had achieved so much fame and fan following!
This spoiled her mood many times and due to this, her friends and others had to bear the burden of her frustration. So, without any warnings, she would simply emit verbal fire on them, sometimes violently. Many times due to such outbursts of hers, there used to be fisticuffs between her and her friends, with other common friends trying to make peace among them and ending up as her enemies also!
While she felt that everyone was hostile towards her, one person was very sympathetic towards her. He was one year senior to her in school and both became friendly as the years passed from her 11th standard to the 12th and her first year college life. She was a first year B.Com student.
Like her, he was also a very bright student, passing out with high percentage of marks, was very good at all extra curricular activities, which naturally attracted them to each other. But unlike her, he was a very sober, no nonsense guy, with a highly matured mindset, which enabled him to make friends with most of the people and retain their goodwill.
He had joined an engineering college and used to meet her often on weekends in certain public places like parks, theaters, hotels etc and both used to spend much time with each other.
At such occasions, she used to pour out her “grievances” to him.
She would say, "Do you know how shabbily some of my so called friends treat me?"
He would silently smile, turning his face to a side so as not to upset her and would ask her in an amused way "Is it? Why do they do so?"
"They are simply jealous of me, that's why. They cannot come anywhere near me in talent or caliber and that is eating them. So they try to take out their frustration on me by inventing nonsense stories about me or fight with me".
"It is not so, Vijaya. Many times, the mistake lies with you only, since many times you behave in an immature way. Please try to understand that".
At such times she would erupt on him and warn him that she would not talk to him any more, but he would not hesitate to remain firm on his stand. Sometimes he would not hesitate to shout at her also, saying “stop behaving like a spoiled celebrity”, for which she dared not respond.
Her sulking never produced any sympathy from him, whenever she put on her martyred face and so she had no choice but to accept his firm stand many times. With others, she would have just thrown another tantrum for such comments and told them to get lost, but with him she could not do so.
Why? she used to wonder. Slowly it began to dawn on her that she liked him very much and admired him for his fearless and principled stand on many occasions, unlike her other friends, who never had any principles from her point of view!
Her other friends became aware of her softness and friendship with this man and they took it as their main weapon to beat her in their many battles with her.
He was a muslim boy and his name was Habib Rehman! That’s why.
They took delight in inventing imaginary stories of happenings between them, which they knew would be unwelcome to both their families. They spread such stories freely among themselves and to whoever was willing to listen.
When her parents and her brother came to know about her affection for Habib, they were shocked and could not digest the information. They heard the various stories about them from her friends and other family members and their friends. All of them advised her parents to control Vijaya before matters could get out of hand. So, they told her to discontinue her friendship with him but she did not agree to their wishes.
Habib’s family members were also not happy about this relationship and they also pressured him to stop this friendship but to no avail. Both of them continued to meet secretly due to the opposition from their families and friends and soon enough their friendship blossomed into deep love for each other.
But one day when she suddenly disappeared, all hell broke loose. Her parents promptly blamed Habib Rehman for her disappearance.
But Habib’s parents also were equally angry with Vijaya’s people, since he had also disappeared and they blamed her for his disappearance.
But everyone was puzzled.
Where were they? Had they gone to some other city or town to get married quietly to avoid opposition from all sides?
Nobody knew the answer.
After waiting for a day for her to return home, her father gave a “missing person complaint” to the police, who however did not take it seriously. They told him that she must have run away with Rehman and would return soon!
(To be continued)
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